The Rail Philatelist January 1998 Newsletter

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Volume 2 ………………………………………………………………………. Number 6 January 1, 1998


Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:

Thanks for helping make 1997 my second best sales year ever - I might even turn a small profit! Turning a profit requires controlling costs since it takes an average of $5 in stamp sales to cover a dollar in costs. Many of the costs like postage, telephone, insurance, debt service (yes, it takes some borrowed money to maintain a six-figure inventory) are controlled elsewhere (almost said "out of control" which is probably also true!). Others I have some control over and am working on, even the small ones. Last months "I" and "J" lists were particularly short, so I included some cover lists. I will continue to do this in the future as space becomes available. Since the first class postage is the same for 4-7 sheets of paper I have decided to try to fill up as much of the white space as possible with useful info or offers to get my 2 ounces worth! - feel free to ignore anything that doesn't appeal to you! Speaking of appealing to you, here is your chance to tell me what you really want from me.

1998 CUSTOMER SURVEY: The marketing book I read over the holidays says the best way to expand your business is to find more customers like the ones you already have. To do that you need to know your customers. While I think I know most of my customers pretty well already, the enclosed survey is my attempt to get to know you all better as a group and also give you an opportunity to tell me what you think. Please return the survey in the enclosed SSAE - you don't have to give your name. I'll share the results in a future newsletter if the comments are printable. Thanks for your help!

Monthly Stamp

STAMP(S) OF THE MONTH: The Netherlands Indies "Queen Wilhelmina" issues (Scott #173-188, 208-225, and others) have two distinct rail interests - there is a freight car on the wharf in the left border and a railway trestle in the right border. I learned on my Eastern trip that there are also numerous overprints for the Japanese occupation of the islands during World War II and additional overprints for the Rep. of Indonesia independence. Thus this series can make an extremely interesting specialized study and collection. Shown are Scott #174, Japan Stamp Dealers Assn. (JSDA)#4N19 (South Celebes Overprint), JSDA #11S29 (Sumatra Overprint) and Scott #176 with Indonesia Overprint #221z. I have all the basic stamps in stock but the overprints are particularly difficult to locate - only a few of them are in stock.

RAILWAY POST OFFICE COVERS: I just purchased a huge US RPO collection. The attached list, my first RPO list ever, includes only the scarcer RPOs from the collection (MPOS scarcity factor III or higher). There are a couple thousand more common ones that I don't have time or space to list so send me your want lists - I probably have just what you are looking for! I also bought about 300 German "Bahnpost" covers, so if you have any interest in that area, again send me a want list.

FRANKLIN MINT "TRAINS OF THE WORLD": Another stamp dealer just sent me 21 pages of "Trains of the World" put out by the Franklin Mint in 1989 for the National Railroad Museum, one page each for several different countries. I have enclosed photocopies of the Liberia page - as you can see only one souvenir sheet from a set of 4 is included (Scott #1087). Unfortunately, this pattern was followed with many countries, only 11 of 21 actually included complete sets. I am not sure how many pages were in the complete collection -this is the first time I have encountered it. At least 3 of the page designs were duplicated but in different colors - five colors were used - gray, green, blue, blue-green and brown. A receipt paper clipped to one of the pages showed the customer paid $40.50 per shipment, but I'm not sure how many pages were in the shipment - probably four or $10.00 per page - about 3-5 times catalog value - I guess printing those pages and placing all those fancy ads costs big bucks. Anyone remember the ads or have more info on the complete collection? I assume there was probably a fancy leather binder to house the collection if you bought the whole thing since the pages have 22 punch holes.

GOALS: The success gurus say the best way to achieve your goals is to make them specific and public so here goes. My business goals for the year 2000 are to double my sales from the present level while reducing my show schedule to just 10 productive shows. Notice I said double my sales, not my profits since at present I am still pretty much a non-profit operation. To achieve these ambitious goals I will certainly need your help. By eliminating the marginal shows I can reduce my costs while increasing the time available to work up material and handle your mail and/or web orders. Hopefully this will result in increased sales that more than offset the lost show sales. I don't make this decision lightly since I truly enjoy doing shows, meeting face to face with collectors and other dealers. But shows keep getting more expensive - over half my current expenses (exclusive of purchases for inventory) are directly attributable to shows and they aren't generating half my sales any more. So it seems logical to cut back and concentrate my limited resources where they can be most productive. In addition to the potential cost savings, the travel time savings should allow more time to work up material and give better service to mail and web orders - at least that is the plan. And 10 shows placed well geographically should still give me the opportunity to see each of you at least once a year. Of course, finding 10 productive shows may not be all that easy!

REPRINTS: I am working hard not to repeat myself too much in these newsletters. On the other hand there are many newcomers who have missed out on many of my earlier "pearls of wisdom". Thus. it seems reasonable that I should offer reprints of my previous newsletters to those of you who might wish to complete your collections (sure they are all still available on my web page, but not every one has access). You can obtain copies of any of my newsletters two ways:(1) Send a large 55c SSAE telling me which issues you need or (2) send your request with your next order.

DECEMBER TRAVEL: At the Phoenix show a woman asked if I had a postcard for the depot in Kane, PA. I said "I might since that's where I grew up". She said "So did my husband!". Turned out to be a childhood friend - we had traded stamps as kids - now he collects Colorado narrow gauge memorabilia - small world! My 10 day holiday trip to visit my youngest son at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, WA with side trips to the Snake River Canyon, Oregon dunes and Redwood Forest put me behind the power curve - that's why this newsletter is so late. My apologies.

RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,..." THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD A good moral for us all as we start the new year.



Al's signatureAL PETERSON



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P.O. Box 25505
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
1-800-807-RAIL access code RR

News & Notes Back Issues | Oct. 1996 | Nov. 1996 | Dec. 1996 | Jan. 1997 | Feb. 1997 | Mar 1997 | Apr. 1997 |
| May 1997 | June 1997 | July 1997 | Aug. 1997 | Sept. 1997 | Oct. 1997 | Nov. 1997 | Dec. 1997 |


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